CCDR policy brief: Governance trends in large-scale informal urban settlements in Africa
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This policy brief contributes to understandings of the governance of large-scale informal settlements in the Global South. It takes the informal settlement of Old Fadama in Accra (Stacey & Lund 2016) as a case study. Old Fadama has grown steadily over the last 40 years or so and is currently home to approximately 80.000 people.
The near-absence of statutory institutions in the area has greatly influenced the emergence of informal providers of public services whose operations defy dominant perceptions of such areas as inherently chaotic or subversive. This brief is grounded in approximately six months’ qualitative data collection in Old Fadama focusing on the informal provision of public services and organisation of informal governance. The brief contributes to critical urban studies by highlighting the emergence of relatively successful informal governance arrangements and arguing against monochromatic views of such sites.
In Ghana, rural–urban migration means that approximately 5 million people, or 20 per cent of the total population, currently live in slum conditions. The government expects this to increase by about 1.8 per cent per annum (Government of Ghana 2005, quoted in Owusu et al. 2008, p.183). In Accra alone, city authorities have identified some 78 slums and informal settlements of varying size and quality, with nearly 300,000 people living in squatter settlements (UN-Habitat 2011).